Saturday, November 26, 2011

Carrot Cake > Pumpkin Pie

Instead of baking this carrot cake for my birthday two weeks ago, I went out and bought a big ol' slice of the stuff. My roommates and I simply didn't need an entire cake to ourselves. But you see, the purchased cake was dry. And there wasn't enough frosting to compensate.

When cream cheese frosting can't save the day, you know something is wrong. And sad. That cake was wrong and sad.*

So I took over Thanksgiving and made myself a belated birthday cake. My brother was a little disappointed that there was no pumpkin pie, and I'm pretty sure that some sort of fruit cobbler will soon make an appearance on my father's behalf.

But you know what? The two of them enjoyed my carrot cake. They enjoyed the copious amounts of frosting and the moist crumb. The small piece left in the fridge proves that. And you know why they enjoyed it?

Because it's not your ordinary carrot cake.

No, it contains a full two cups of crushed pineapple. Including the liquid. The pineapple makes the cake incredibly moist and slightly sweet. It provides little pockets of texture. It beats raisins and dates by leaps and bounds. It makes apple sauce look like a sissy.**

Yeah, I'm on the pineapple side of the Great Carrot Cake Debate. All you need is a can of crushed pineapple, chopped walnuts, and fresh spices. And good frosting, of course.

Oh, and a sous chef who wears a lobster hat while he preps a freshly caught lobster for you.  That was part of Friday night's dinner, which saw us eating an easy lobster and shrimp scampi instead of leftover turkey. Leftover carrot cake, of course, was consumed.

*Stay away from cake at The Cheesecake Factory. I know I should have known better, but it's always looked so good. And cheesecake, while delicious, has too much dairy for my poor stomach.
**I like apple sauce, I just don't believe it belongs in 99% of the baked goods you see it in.

You can sort of see the extra frosting on the right.

And because I believe in full disclosure (and making fun of my kitchen mishaps), I'm letting you know that part of this cake had to be frosted back together. A very slippery non-stick pan should never be placed atop a non-stick cooling rack. Even the tiniest of nudges can lead to a catastrophe.

But I persevered, and picked myself and my second cake layer up off the floor. I did a little reconstruction. I tried to pull out as many dog hairs* as possible. And I got a pretty even looking structure. I am proud.

*Persons who own cats and/or dogs understand that a meal isn't a meal without a little animal hair. We try our hardest, but even when the food doesn't touch the floor, it has a tendency to attract a stray hair or two.

Carrot Cake

2 cups grated carrots
2 cups undrained crushed pineapple
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
(If making a layer cake, 
make at least half a recipe extra)

1 stick butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract


sweetened shredded coconut
chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. First mix carrots, pineapple, eggs and oil. Add in sugar. Then add in the rest of the dry ingredients, including the walnuts.

Option 1: Bake in greased 13inx9in pan for 50 minutes to an hour.
Option 2: Bake in two greased 8 inch cake rounds for approximately 40 minutes.

Frost once cooled. One Tough Cookie has a great tutorial on frosting a layer cake. For the side decor, you're just pressing the nuts and coconut into the cake a little bit at a time.


kimmie said...

Gorgeous. Happy belated Birthday. And thank you for disclosing where the less than stellar cake came from. I'd hate to be Miss Nosey Pants twice in one week.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the recipe! I know what cake I'm baking next! Nice job of decorating too! Katie :)

Cucina49 said...

That's a gorgeous carrot cake, which yes, is definitely better than pumpkin pie.

Stephanie said...

Happy belated Birthday! I love carrot cake, especially with a ton of delicious cream cheese frosting!

Susan Bennett said...

I can't wait to try this. I like the subtle flavours of carrot cake, but a version with pineapple seems almost too good to be true.

Kiri W. said...

Oooh, look at all that coconut :) I love coconut! Your cake looks so perfectly moist and delicious :)

Val said...

That looks heavenly. It's tough sitting on the other side of the screen unable to take a slice and enjoy it. I have to make this carrot cake ASAP!

Congrats on making Top 9 :)

Anonymous said...

Touche! Agree with the whole applesauce thing: not enough flavor, no emulsifying action (ok, I'm no barrister, I'm a musical geek physician), and zero flavor. Baby prunes in brownies, now that's a winner all the way around. And the cat/dog hair---so very true: if you want a neat as a pin house, don't come to my home. If you want a lived in home with real people (2-legged and 4-legged) that's relatively clean but messy enough to see it's comfy, stop by anytime! Can I subscribe via email? TIA, and good luck with the job hunt.

alohacookiegirl said...

WOW! Just found your post on foodbuzz and cannot wait to try this recipe!

I must say though, I think you got a bum piece of Carrot Cake at the Cheesecake Factory; I rarely go, but it's my favorite dessert on their menu! 8-)

Monet said...

Talk about moist! This looks so very good. I adore carrot cake. We had one for our wedding and I want one for my birthday too!

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